Election 1944: Women get full partnership in this election (10-12-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 12, 1944)


Very important now –
Women get full partnership in this election

By Robert Taylor, Pittsburgh Press staff writer

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania –
This is the year the women voters come into a full partnership in the election campaign.

By the thousands they are doing the spade work of politics, getting voters registered, ringing doorbells to talk to voters, holding meetings to whip up organization enthusiasm and raising funds.

The Republican and Democratic organizations have had their women’s organizations and auxiliaries for years, but there was always the suspicion that, politics being a man’s game, the women had been relegated to politically powerless positions as a sort of sop to the feminine vote.

This year it’s different. The League of Women Voters estimates 60 percent of the voting will be done by women and the Republicans, Democrats and Political Action Committee campaign leaders accept this estimate, fully and thoughtfully.

The Republicans claim the largest total of women workers – 25,000 in Philadelphia and 100,000 in the state, through an amalgamation of the “professional” organization of women holding party offices and the “amateur” membership of the Pennsylvania Council of Republican Women, with its 330 local councils and 40,000 members.

Heads of this setup are Mrs. Edna Carroll of Philadelphia (State Republican Vice Chairman), Mrs. John Y. Huber of Montgomery County (president of the Council), and Mrs. Hannah Durham of Allentown (chairman of the Council’s statewide Political Activities Committee).

Not only do the Republican women have a PAC of their own – bitterly opposed to Sidney Hillman’s PAC – but they have a dollar campaign of their own, which started this week to raise $250,000.

And, they will point out, they are not imitating the CIO when they ask a dollar from each member, because they originated the dollar certificate drive years ago in Pennsylvania, and are simply repeating this year.

The Democratic organization foresaw the importance of the women’s vote this year and revised their State Committee organization to put Mrs. Ruth Grigg Horting of Lancaster (former State Legislator) in office as State Vice Chairman.

Democratic women active

Mrs. Horting, aided by the Pennsylvania Federation of Democratic Women (headed by Mrs. Myrtle H. Beard of Reading), has set up regional organizations in the state Democratic women aided in the drive to get voters registered, hold meetings in their homes to interest voters in the issues, help raise money for the campaign by pasting “Donkey labels” on marmalade jars, for collection of coins.

Both Republican and Democratic women have organized informal home parties to listen to major radio addresses and have pledged themselves to work at the polls.

The women’s activities program is particularly intense in Philadelphia, the state’s principal political background, where 15,000 to 35,000 women are doing volunteer political work. One of the most active campaigners is Susan B. Anthony II, grand niece and namesake of the late women’s suffrage campaigner. She is a Democrat.

New entrant in race

The new entrant in the women’s political race, the CIO-sponsored PAC, has an active women’s division which helps staff district organizations in Philadelphia, does much of the door-to-door canvassing involved in the PAC’s registration campaign, and takes prospective voters to the registration offices.

The PAC paid particular attention to women voters at the start, because CIO members, working mostly in war industries, haven’t as good an opportunity to talk with their neighbors about politics.

PAC women’s organizations will vary with localities, but in Philadelphia and some other sections they are at work holding house meetings. Thousands have pledged themselves to work at the polls and have been given lists of the voters for whom they will be responsible on Election Day.

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